Ode to John Rawls’ Theory of Justice

by David Blair

The legalities were with me long ago,
even on that country road
where the other day-campers
and I were marching from waterhole lip
to creek. No names for all that green
salad to the side of the road. We were boys.
It was just salad. The weekend was maché
and dried berries. All Memorial Day,
the ants crawl over macaroni salad,
its old battles. I actually am not nostalgic
for a world before language which might
as well be dark chaos. I like when one old
silver-haired lady says to another
one, plumper and plainer: “You do look
like you got a bit of sun in Florida.”
The whole point of a good class I took
at Fordham was that Antonin Scalia
was a shit-for-brains, and kind of mean,
with a judicial philosophy like a built-in
genetic predisposition to heart disease.
To remove a nostalgia for wordlessness
is not my aim. Yesterday, I found some
starter slugs under the seedling cups.
To bring a beefsteak tomato planter
onto this patio is to invite a large dog
into our lives. There’s a real botanist—
“What do you do?” “I’ll tell you”—
at the community garden
whose strawberries are original intent
like somebody saw the old guy’s pecker
fall out of his swimming suit
and just stopped talking then.


DAVID BLAIR is the author of three books of poetry, Ascension Days, Friends with Dogs, and Arsonville. He is also the author of Walk Around: Essays on Poetry and Place and a forthcoming poetry collection, Barbarian Seasons, both from MadHat Press.